No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

VEGAN INFO - AS IT COMES MY WAY

Almost every other day, new health research becomes available, more animal cruelty is exposed, or there's more evidence of the spread of veganism. So when I come across it, I'll post it here.

There's also global warming/climate change - the biggest challenge to our survival. Here are some facts about the effects of livestock raising from the film Cowspiracy.

I have several friends who either have cancer or have family members with the disease, so I've gathered together some of the research on what can be done to fight this.

A whole food, plant-based diet and cancer.

Intermittent fasting and cancer.

Friday, 22 September 2017

A WHOLE FOOD PLANT-BASED (VEGAN) DIET AND CANCER

Why is there such a huge disparity in prostate cancer rates? For instance the incidence of clinically malignant prostate cancer is highest in African-Americans—some 30-fold greater than in Japanese men, and 120 times greater than seen in Chinese men in Shanghai. The reason has to do with lifestyle.

When I began intermittent fasting (something else I would recommend for optimum health), I did so because it was shown to reduce the level of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor 1) in the body: IGF-1 being a marker of cancer risk (the more IGF-1, the more risk of cancer growth). It turns out that a WFPB diet also lowers IGF-1. Cow’s milk, being designed to produce a 600lb calf in very short order, is packed with IGF-1. (It’s also, because cows are made to produce milk whilst pregnant, full of oestrogen and other unwanted hormones).

(Click 'Read more' for the research.)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

PRESS UP CHALLENGES: 100 IN A MINUTE - AND 1 MILLION IN 10 YEARS

My one million press up challenge:

A year ago - well, 15 months ago - I managed 1175 press ups in 1 hour, raising £850 for the local YMCA and Taunton Association for the Homeless. I did this by doing a set of 20 press ups every minute, roughly. I’ve kept practicing and, to my surprise, I’ve built up to 100+ in one minute.

I turn 80 in a few days or so, and my intention is to raise more money for charity by getting a video of my efforts up on to YouTube.

I also intend to do 1m press ups between my 80th (this 28th September) and 90th birthdays. To accomplish this I need to do 100,000 a year, approx 2,000 a week. I want to leave a day’s rest between my efforts, and have Sunday off, so a routine of 650 on 3 days of the week is what I'm aiming for.

Preparation:
A couple of days ago, on Thursday 14th September, I did 600 in 12 minutes. My usual modus operandi is to begin my routine with 6 sets of HIIT press ups - so, flat out press ups for 20 seconds, then rest for 10. Repeat 5 more times. I average about 33 press ups in each 20 seconds, so I’m up to 200+ in under 3 minutes. I rest for 1 minute and then go for 50 every minute. I’ve done 8 of these in the past - (8x50=400) - so another 50 should be well within my reach, and that’ll give me 650.

As you can see, each day's routine is only going to take about 13 minutes, so it's not going to take a huge chunk out of my day.

(I tend to do my exercise at 10.30 in the evening, when both Sky and BBC news do their paper reviews.)

Tonight, Saturday 16th, I’m aiming for 1000 - just to see if I can do it. I should be able to do this inside 20 minutes:
200 in 3 minutes doing my HIIT;
Rest for one minute;
50 every minute for 16 minutes;

= 1000.

Update:
I did it - 1000 press ups in 20 minutes. It was hard, but I know now, if I wanted to see how many I could do in an hour, I could manage 3000 - it's within my reach, I feel sure. But that's not on my horizon at the moment - I've got the 100 in 1 minute challenge first (which I've already done several times whilst practicing), followed by the 1 million between my 80th and 90th birthdays.

I must confess that, towards the end of my routine, since each set of 50 takes me less than 30 seconds, I put back the start of each set by 5 seconds - so that instead of finishing my routine tonight at 19 minutes 30 seconds, I finished it just inside on the 20 minutes.  

As an aside, I've just checked my VO Max:
Given my age, my VO Max should be 32 - but apparently, I have the fitness level of a 49yr old and my VO Max is 45.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

INTERMITTENT FASTING AND CANCER


One of the reasons I first began intermittent fasting (IF) in February 2012 was evidence that fasting had some effect on cancer cells. It was the reference to prostate cancer cells being susceptible to fasting that provoked my initial interest!

The evidence suggested that, whilst fasting, the body’s cells go into repair mode – but invasive cells (cancers, tumours) are neglected and become easier to treat.

Since then evidence continues to accumulate that this is so – but in my experience, the research is disparate and scattered.

I wanted to bring any research that I have come across into one place; to which I can refer any friends and relatives who may know someone with cancer – unfortunately all too common an occurrence latterly, it seems to me.

Friday, 25 August 2017

SIMPLE SODA BREAD - IN THE FRYING PAN (VEGAN)

Plain soda bread

Ingredients:
1 mug or 200g self raising flour (Or: wholemeal flour and 2tsps baking powder)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3rd mug or 125ml water

Method:
1. Put the frying pan on a low heat. Using a non-stick pan, you don't need any oil - but if you feel it may stick in your pan, add the bare minimum.

2. Place the flour (with baking powder if using) and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the water and begin mixing with a table knife or similar.

3.  This is known as a quick bread, so, working quickly, mix together into a soft dough, stirring and cutting through the dough as it forms, adding more flour or water as needed. Turn it out onto a floured worktop, firmly mould it into a round flat loaf, about 1cm thick and place it into the frying pan.  (With practice you can get the mixing and shaping done in less than two minutes.) Increase the heat to medium.

4. Put a kitchen timer on for 5 minutes, then check the colour underneath the bread - you're looking for a good, even colour. Turn the bread over and cook the other side. Once again, don't forget the timer.

5. When you're happy with it, put it to cool on a wire rack and – for a softer crust – wrap the bread in a tea cloth.

Fruit soda bread:
At step two, instead of the salt, add 1 dessertspoon of sugar, half a mug (100g) of dried fruit and a teaspoon of mixed spice. Then proceed as above.

Curried soda bread
At step two, along with the salt, add a teaspoon of curry powder.

Notes:
Here's how I made this frying pan bread in only 13 minutes!

And, my new record, bread made in a sandwich toaster in only 8 minutes!

Here's the recipe for this bread baked in an oven.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

VEGAN PARKIN - the concise recipe

(The story behind this recipe.)
Simple Parkin (vegan)

Ingredients:
100g porridge oats
100g wholemeal flour (for a gluten-free (ish) version, substitute with Dove's gluten free flour)
2 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
4 tsps ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
100g sugar
100g blackstrap molasses (or treacle if you can’t find molasses)
220g lukewarm water
80g vegetable oil

Method:
       Preheat the oven to 180C [or see microwave version below]
       Measure the oats, flour, baking powder, ginger and mixed spice and stir to distribute the ingredients
       Gently heat the molasses and water together to approximately blood heat and add to dry ingredients
       Add the oil to the mix and stir – initially with a large spoon or spatula, then with a whisk
       Pour in to an oiled and lined 20cm (8” inch) cake tin
       Put in the oven and cook for between 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
       Leave on a cooling rack in the tin for ten minutes
Turn out on to the cooling tray

With a traditional parkin it is recommended you leave it for several days to mature. This is supposed to enhance the taste. I’ve no idea whether this works with this recipe – as, in this house, the parkin disappears very quickly after cooling. It is simply gorgeous from the moment it is cool enough to eat.

The only way I’ve found not to gorge on this cake is to, as soon as possible, cut it into, say, 50g pieces, then put them in the freezer. This way I can allow myself one piece per day.

If anyone has the strength and fortitude to keep the parkin for several days to see if it does in fact improve with keeping, I’d be very glad to hear from them!

Variation: For a gluten free version of this, simply use Dove’s gluten free flour in place of the wholemeal flour - and you'll need GF oats.

27th July.
Following a conversation on the Wildfood forum about microwaving carrot cake, I decided I'd try this with parkin.

I put my 800w microwave on for 3 minutes - and the parkin looked like this:


Baked in the oven my silicon cake form contains the parkin easily - but it rose much more in the microwave, as you can see! 
Once it's turned out onto the cooling rack, you can't tell the difference between a cake made in the oven - or in the microwave!
Comparing the two methods of baking:
40 minutes in the oven (with 10 minutes warm-up time), as against 5 minutes in the microwave - and you get a better risen cake!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

PANE CASERECCIO - Rolled stuffed pizza

(Some pics in this portfolio - about 12 photo's down.)

I vary the filling every time I make this - today I spread the dough with Pateole, a mushroom pate, covered that with pesto and added chunks of Fry's polony and Linda McCartney sausages plus slices of fried field mushroom. I sprinkled the whole lot with some nutritional yeast.


The dough was made with bouillon powder, half a teaspoon of curry powder, a teaspoon of dried herbs and half a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small. All this was added along with the flour. Plus I added 25g oil (from the s-d-tomatoes) after the liquid went in.


Ingredients (Makes two):    
400g (or 2 mugs) strong white flour                                                         
1/2 tsp salt                                                                  
1 rounded dessertspoon fresh yeast
250ml (or 2/3rds of a mug) lukewarm water
Two dessertspoons olive oil (optional)
                                                                       
Filling:
2 medium tomatoes or 8 mushrooms or a combination of these, cut into chunks
1 or 2 chopped vegan sausage
Chunks of vegan cheese - Violife pizza cheese works well
2/3 dessertspoons nutritional yeast, sprinkled over the filling
Black pepper

Method:
1. Measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast. Place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, then add the olive oil if using.

2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Begin to mix by stirring  the ingredients together with a knife, cutting through the dough as it forms. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use your hand to squeeze the mixture together. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by flattening the dough out, folding it over and flattening it again. If the dough is too sticky, instead of putting extra flour on your worktop, place some in the bowl, put the dough back in and turn it round to coat it all over. That way you keep the flour under control and you won’t be tempted to add too much. Knead until the dough becomes smooth – and then stop before you get fed up!

4. Divide the dough into two pieces and form them into cob shapes. Then, using flour to stop the dough sticking, roll them both out into a rectangle, roughly 30cm by 20cm. Work with each one, alternately. Spread the mushrooms/tomatoes and sausage across the dough, leaving a border at the top and bottom, then sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the filling. Finish with black pepper.

5. Roll up the dough towards you, as if making a Swiss roll, bring it to rest on the seam and squeeze the dough gently around the filling. Push any filling that’s fallen out back inside, then tuck the ends over to stop the cheese leaking out.

6. Place on a prepared baking sheet and leave to prove until they’ve risen appreciably.

7. Bake at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for between 20-25 minutes. If they are beginning to colour too fast, cover with baking parchment or foil and move to the coolest part of the oven. To check they are done, look for some colour underneath.
    Variations:
    Curried onions and vegan cheese. Fry some onions with curry powder. Spread across the base then add the cheese on top.

    Roasted peppers, mushrooms, courgettes, onions and vegan cheese.

    (Note: This is a version of a recipe I first saw Antonio Carluccio demonstrate on TV more than a dozen years ago. )

    Monday, 24 July 2017

    WHY EGGS should be off the menu

    10 medical reasons not to consume eggs. (Joel Kahn, MD)

    Eggs vs Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis (Michael Greger, MD)

    "...the head of USDA’s Poultry Research and Promotion program... “you can’t couch eggs [or] egg products as being ‘healthy’ or ‘nutritious.'”
    (Who says eggs aren't healthy or safe? - Michael Greger, MD)

    Smashing the myth that eggs are a health food (Jesse J. Jacoby, Plant Based News)

    What's Wrong With Eggs? The Truth About The Egg Industry - (Erin Janus)


    Free range is a con. There is no such thing as an ethical egg. (Chas Newkey-Burden - The Guardian)

    So, to sum up: Eggs are unhealthy; egg production is inherently cruel; and is the cause of enormous pollution.

    Egg replacement.
    There are several alternatives for eggs - a quick online search brings up the main ones. But eggs are often unnecessary in recipes - for instance I never use eggs in my bread recipes. And very good pancakes can be made without eggs or milk.

    SPREADING THE VEGAN MESSAGE

    Saturday 22nd July
    There is so much information out there about the benefits of a WFPB diet, it's hard to keep up. A lot of it comes from my Twitter feed, some from the websites I've subscribed to, and a lot of it I come across by searching for it.

    Often I hear of someone with a health problem and I wonder if a plant based diet would help - so I search online, e.g.. vegan diet and diabetes (say) - and I find there are a plethora of articles on the subject.

    [More]




    19th June 2017
    Over the walking weekend, I expressed the view that if I had come across some info I thought would be useful to others, I should share it - to which there was general agreement. You don’t have to click on the links I send, after all.

    So, here’s a TED talk with a refreshing take on a plant based diet.


    Another TED talk by Dr John McDougall, a physician who sees his patients get better - with just a lifestyle change:


    In response to last week’s email I’ve had a couple of requests for links to advice on specific  conditions - namely diabetes and prostate cancer.



    Check out the links below the videos - and have a look at the comments sections, there is an amazing community of helpful individuals on there answering each and every question.

    Along with Drs McDougall and Greger extolling the benefits of a plant based diet - here’s Dr Neal Barnard:


    And another great, science based website:


    The general consensus seems to be that a high IGF-1 level contributes significantly to the growth of cancer and a WFPB diet helps to keep this low.  But don’t forget, Intermittent  Fasting is  also effective in this regard. 

    Cheers, Paul


    This is a follow-up to the email I sent out prior to the last weekend - which was hugely enjoyable, as it always is. I come away from these get-togethers hugely uplifted, and I can’t wait until the next one.

    Thanks to those of you who came to my presentation. (Hope nobody missed my breadmaking too much! 😄) For all those who missed it, the feedback I got was very positive and people found the information it contained very relevant.

    I hope by now you’ve managed to see the video I linked to - I sent it out very close to the weekend, so there wouldn’t have been time for you to watch it all, I’m guessing.

    There were 3 parts to my presentation: 
    The message contained in both the ‘How not to die’ video and the book with the same title. (BTW, Keith Walker was so impressed by the video that he printed off 2 copies of 14 pages of the transcript! And I was so impressed by the book that I have bought 3 copies - 1 for myself and one each for my kids). The message can be summed up in a very few sentences - human beings make our own cholesterol, so the cholesterol contained in meat and animal products finds its way into our arteries and blood vessels, attacking the lining and allowing plaque to build up. The plaque eventually closes off the arteries and heart disease results. However, the good news is that damage to the arterial system can be reversed:


    This is what Dr Greger calls the best kept secret in medicine - as soon as you stop damaging the body, it starts to repair itself!So if you switch over to a plant-based diet, the body starts to clear away the plaque from inside the blood vessels. Immediately!

    Part 2:
    Given the age of our demographic, I thought it important to concentrate as well on Alzheimer’s - probably the disease we most fear. One of Dr Greger’s videos on his Nutrition Facts website concerns reversing mild cognitive decline by 30 minutes of brisk exercise a day:


    That’s one side of the fight against dementia - the other is a plant-based diet. This is because the blood vessels in the brain are affected just as the coronary arteries are - so the blood supply to the brain is diminished. Exercise sends the blood pumping through the brain, clearing the arteries to the brain allows the blood to flow freely. 

    Part 3:
    Intermittent Fasting (IF). One of the reasons a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet is so healthy is that it lowers IGF-1, which causes cancer. IF also lowers IGF-1, so the two work hand in hand. IF also put the body under mild stress, so the cells rejuvenate themselves. I lost 24lbs over 8 months when I began IFing, and I’ve maintained a steady 9st 3 for the past over 4 years. Now I simply fast for 24 hours once a week.

    Here’s my story:


    So there you have it, folks. But, I urge you, don’t just take my word for it, do your own research. I think both a WFPB diet and IF are firmly grounded in science, but if you can come up with contrary evidence, I’d love to see it.


    2nd June 2017
    I'm a member of an informal discussion group, meeting monthly. Whoever hosts decides the topic to be discussed.

    Yesterday we met at mine - and I chose veganism, with an emphasis on health, but necessarily touching on animal welfare and global warming.

    Over the last few weeks, I've been sending them links and references on the subject, including the film Cowspiracy.

    I began the session intending to show them the first 10 minutes of Michael Greger's 'How not to die' video. I thought I'd better cut it short when Michael Greger had finished with the subject of halting and reversing CAD, but the group wanted to carry on watching. We watched a further 10 minutes, on the subject of cancer, then we had a discussion on what we'd seen and heard. They were very receptive, much to my surprise. I was helped by one of the group who had been reading my copy of 'How not to die', and several times read pertinent passages from it. He made a particular point of telling the group that the science was sound - there were 135 pages of references at the end of the book.

    After an hour or so, I gave them coffee, plus a selection of about a dozen vegan goodies which I'd prepared - Fry's polony; 2 types of hard cheese (including Vegusto); cream cheese; homemade pizza and breadsticks; my Thai chilli non carne; nutritional yeast; seitan; Mrs Crimble's stem ginger cake; Booja Booja chocolate ice cream; and some dark chocolate. My message was that you don't have to be deprived on a vegan diet.

    Then we had a further half an hour of discussion - I was asked to relate my own story, so I told them how and why I became vegan, including the positive effects this had on my own health - and we wrapped it up.

    Outcomes:
    One of the group took us all by surprise by saying that he intended to give a vegan diet a go for a fortnight! He very much related to my story of how my sinuses had dried up after giving up dairy - he not only had a constant nasal drip, but he had asthma as well. So we'll see how well he does.
    The friend who'd borrowed my copy of the book, and another friend were concerned that their main stumbling block would be how their wives would react. I said that if they bought some vegan goodies, the mere fact that they were in the house would make it easier to begin the process of transitioning. Something I'm working on myself.
    Another member of the group emailed me to say, "Brilliant morning. Lots to consider now for a life change." After the discussion, he'd confided in me that he hadn't been looking forward to the morning, expecting simply a boring chat about veganism!

    So, 4 out of 5 ain't bad! It's certainly the best reaction to my spreading the  word that I've had in 14 years!

    Wednesday, 19 July 2017

    SUMMER FRUIT PIZZA (vegan)

    I've made this a couple of times, and it's absolutely gorgeous! I'll get the recipe and pics up on here ASAP.

    Just wanted to put up a link for my students.

    2 smaller ones made with 1 mug flour

    Basically, the base is a simple pizza dough, using sugar rather than salt. It's then rolled out flat, with a thin layer of marzipan and a topping of frozen summer fruits. A sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon finishes it off.